Students engage in leadership sessions through enrichment retreat | Aga Khan Academies

Students engage in leadership sessions through enrichment retreat

05 December 2018

On 10 November the Academy held its first-ever enrichment retreat hosted by the enrichment coordinators.

The one-day retreat, which consisted of 3 creativty, activity, service (CAS) and 35 enrichments, or clubs, was created to help students understand how to lead a successful enrichment.

Ryan Herman with the students at the first-ever enrichment retreat.“We have noticed that some enrichments, those that have had many changes in patrons or leadership teams, could benefit from the strong teamwork and forward-thinking we were seeing in other clubs,” said Ryan Herman, academy fellow and one of the enrichment coordinators. “We wanted to bring up our students' commitment to ethical and active leadership in all of our leaders and wanted to empower students to take charge of these groups they birth out of mutual interest/passion. Essentially, we kept seeing very good ideas coming across our desk that would die out after one term due to ineffective leadership.”

Students taking part in bonding activities during the retreat.Numerous activities were done with the students at the retreat including a personalised leadership style test, a team-building session to help form relationships between student leaders and an activity to help students lead meetings.

“The day consisted of interactive and personalised sessions based on helping students address structural issues within their independent groups and recognising the strengths and weaknesses of their leadership style,” Ryan said. “(We wanted to encourage) stronger and more long-term student-born enrichments and (have) a greater active participation to our Academy’s pledge to ethical leadership.”

Andre Lupembe, year 9, who represented the Middle School Model United Nations enrichment and the chess club at the retreat, said the sessions at the retreat have really aided him with his own enrichments in various ways.

Enrichment coordinators lead a session on leadership at the retreat.“I have been able to lead my enrichment in a more organised matter and our sessions include more people being engaged,” Andre said. “I feel like I have grown as a leader and I believe this retreat contributed. This retreat was, in general, a very informative session that was also interactive and full of new things for enrichment leaders.”

Aside from students representing their individual enrichments, other students helped the enrichment coordinators with the retreat by providing them support where needed, such as Tessa Tyaba, year 10.

Participants of the retreat participated in numerous bonding activities led by external facilitators.“As an organiser, I spent most of my time at the retreat ensuring all the sessions, bonding activities and meals were running smoothly,” Tessa said. “I was also able to learn very valuable lessons that go into being a leader at the retreat. The activity that had the most impact on me was determining my leadership style. I found this part of the retreat very crucial as I am also a leader of other enrichments and found it important to determine and reflect on my personality type and how this may affect my leadership skills.”

Ryan said the enrichment coordinators received a lot of feedback from students during the leadership development session, which he saw as beneficial.

“Having students reflect inwards and how their personality can affect their ability to lead effectively seemed to be a new concept for students and they wanted to continue to learn more about how to cater their enrichment to fit their style and vice-versa,” Ryan said.

Students learned how to work together through bonding activities in the retreat.Besides this retreat, Ryan said other things can be done to help students become better leaders within their enrichments.

“There needs to be a more supported ‘hand-over’ process for new student leaders,” Ryan said. “We can also provide more specific guidance on how to lead certain types of enrichments, such as expressive arts, community service, sports, etc.”

By Anusha Lalani